Book Review: The Long Way Home by David Laskin

I don’t normally read non-fic. I was asked by a friend to review David Laskin’s The Long Way Home. I told him up front, “I don’t do history.” and he said, “It’s okay, it’s not dry, boring history. I promise.”

I was pleasantly surprised when I got completely sucked into this book after it arrived here. The Long Way Home, has been a different sort of read for me. I would love to write a fully detailed review for you, but I’m not going to do that.

What I am going to do instead, is point out to you that I read this book from cover to cover inside of a week. I have mulled about what I want to say about it for a couple of weeks since. What I really have to say is very short and to the point: “Laskin’s excellent prose takes a story that could have been very drab and dull and turns it into a very exciting, highly readable experience that turned the head of a hard core explosion lover and made me think that maybe, not all non-fiction is boring.”

I actually haven’t read a non-fiction work that I’ve enjoyed reading as much since I read King Leopold’s Ghost in college. I found myself becoming involved with these men, hoping and praying for them. Laskin writes about 12 of them, none of whom were citizens of the United States, and all of them loved this country so much that they chose to fight and die for it. These men truly were the stuff that America is made of.

At first I thought I was being drug into another “Saving Private Ryan” sort of a story, but it really wasn’t. What I found instead, was a very timely work that provides precisely what this country needs right now. It is not a beacon to drag us back into the era when World Wars were possible without assured mutual destruction, but rather it is a reminder of where we have been and what people would give to be American.

I wish I could say more, but I really don’t feel that I should analyze this work in a literary form or attack it, in fact I can’t because I received an advance copy of the book that requires me to check with the publisher before I quote any of the material directly and I’m far too lazy to make those phone calls. Before you even ask, no, I have not been paid for this review, nor will I accept money for any future statements I make about this work. In fact, I’ll hit it with my literary canons for you when I get my hands on an officially published copy.

For now, just let me say that I liked it.

If you have ever been interested in where America has been, or concerned about where it was going, you should read it.